Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

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Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

Painting NameGirl with a Pearl Earring
Painter NameJohannes Vermeer
Completion Date1665
Size44.5 cm × 39 cm (17.5 in × 15 in)
Current LocationMauritshuis (The Hague Netherlands)

Called sometimes as “The Dutch Mona Lisa”, Girl with a Pearl Earring is history’s one of the most famous paintings which even provoked a novel, a movie and a play with the same name.  There are many – real or made up – notions stating the girl in the painting is Vermeer’s daughter, maid or his commissioner’s daughter. Though, the theory that she is Vermeer’s maid has caught up in the general public as it was mentioned in the novel published in 1999. Real and solid evidences are yet to find out.

Whoever she could be, but her grace, gaze and the painting’s focal point – the pearl earring – have made it unique and attractive for any viewer. Her simple posture, clothes and normal depiction without much artistic aesthetics gives the painting its natural beauty which is mainly admired by the most. The fashion of turban was popular at the time which also gives a firm presence to the painting. Moreover, according to the special posture of the girl, it is not a portrait but a “tronie“, which is sub-type of portrait focusing on the emotions and expression rather that the profile of the subject.

While restoring the painting in 1994, the researchers found out that Vermeer originally wanted the black ground in greenish shade. While the restoration, the gaze of the girl’s eyes were notably enhanced.

Sometimes, very simple artistic creations get attentions of millions and this painting is one of them. You don’t know why you like it (it could be the colors, gaze, posture, pearl…) but you just keep staring at it to find the answer.


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